Thursday, February 26, 2009
Reunited and it feels so good!
I can't get that cheesy Peaches and Herb song out of my head now. I makes me want to go to the roller rink (all you gen xers will know what I'm talking about). I was reunited with my boyfriend Joel the Pole yesterday. In other words, I started targeted therapy yesterday. I am so glad to finally get this show on the road. This is supposedly the new lymphoma wonder drug, SGN 35, that will hopefully put me in remission so that I can move on to my transplant. It is in the stages of getting FDA approved but they have seen excellent results from it. Chemo will attack the bad cell but also the good cells hence, the unpleasant side effects. SGN 35 is targeted therapy meaning that it attacks the antigen in the Hodgkin's so I will experience very little side effects. I get to keep my Fonz looking hair but may experience fatigue, tingling in my fingers and feet, and maybe a little nausea. I've tolerated everything they've given me pretty well so far so hopefully, this will be the same except I want it to kill this thing once and for all! Another big blessing is that it is infusion instead of in patient and only takes thirty minutes. I'll go once a week for three weeks and then have a week off. I'll be on this therapy for at least 2 months. However, we are hoping I stay on it for the maximum time which is six months. Personally, I think that I just haven't been on treatment long enough and that is why this stubborn cancer keeps coming back.
When Doug and I first started dating, I used to get very frustrated when we would go to parties, showers or anywhere there was a big group of people. He would go off and leave me. I wished for a boyfriend that would stay by my side and be my boyfriend/date for the night. Well, be careful of what you wish for. I now have Joel the Pole at my side the whole time during chemo and he'll be by my side during my hospital stay. After five years of dating and nine years of marriage, Doug now stays pretty close to me when we're at a crowded function. Good boy!
Some days I still have to pinch myself to remind me that this is really happening to me. I never thought that at forty (yes, I had to check a new age box this year) I would be battling cancer for the third time. I am the one that never got sick. Until I had Abbey, I had never used all my sick days at work. I never called in sick to work. I can count the number of times I've gone home sick on both hands and not use all fingers. I am the first person on both sides of my family to have any type of cancer- except for an uncle that got prostate cancer at an old age and my great grandmother that had colon cancer, surgery and lived to be 86. Remember the old phrase never say never? I never thought this would happen to me. But then the optimist in me turns it around to something positive. Here are some things that I never thought would happen to me but have turned out to be a pleasant surprise:
1. I never thought my marriage would have to endure a test like this. Yes, we rattle off those vows of "in sickness and health" without really thinking about it. I will say it has made our marriage stronger and our love, admiration and respect for each other grows every day.
2. I always new I would love my children but I also really like my kids. Now I can hear you all rolling your eyes. No, I am not one of those moms that think her children are the end all be all of children. I know they are not perfect. But I also think they are funny, creative, smart and good people. My prayers continue to be answered when I see them growing into loving and kind individuals.
3. I never dreamed I would live in a neighborhood that has given me an real sense of community. I know I sound like a broken record, but we could not be getting through this ordeal without the help of the kindness and generosity of our community.
4. I never thought I could feel such fierce love for someone. We all know of the primal mother instinct but I feel that way about my family and my friends. Say what you want about me but don't you dare try to say something about Doug or my girls. Or anyone else I love for that matter!
5. I never thought I would develop such a love for volunteering. It is one of my true passions.
6. I never thought I would be so happy to drive a mini van. Doug and I had a mini van pact when we got married. I would not ask for one and he would not buy me one. After we had our third, Anne Renee, I begged for one. I figured I was going to look like a mom no matter what I drove so I might as well drive something that has all the modern conveniences for a mom- remote controlled sliding doors, DVD player, and is a height that all three can get in by themselves.
7. I never thought I would pay more for tickets to the Wiggles concert than I did for the Rolling Stones! Truth be told, I probably had a better time at the Wiggles than I did at the Stones!
8. I never thought I would be the type of mother who would let her three year old eat girl scout cookies for breakfast. But you have to pick your battles and this has only happened once.
9. I never thought I would have so much respect for my mother. As a mom now, I realize what she went through with my parents divorce and what sacrifices she made. I love you mom!
10. I never thought I would love the silence of my own home but miss my kids so much at the same time.
This list could go on forever so I'll just wrap it up right now.
Many of you have gotten tested to see if you're a match. Words cannot express how grateful Doug and I are for our friends and family. Please know if the tables were turned, we would do it for you in a heart beat! If you would like to get tested, there is still time. Yes, we have found the 3 9 out of 10 donors but they really like to have 10 out of 10 so we are still searching. My wonderful friends Robin and Sue have organized a stem cell match drive at West U Methodist on March 9th. A representative from the national registry will be there for testing. No needles involved- it's four swabs of the mouth and takes about 10 minutes. You will be tested to match me first, and if it is not a match, then you will go in the registry and hopefully, help someone like me! If March 9th does not work for you, I will send out a code where you can do it on line. If you want to get tested but don't want to go in the registry please see my first blog entry. All the info is there.
Doug is still known to socially abandon me from time to time. It usually involves his college or high school buddies. But when it comes to the important times, he's just where I need him to be- right by my side. And I am so grateful for that! Because "We're reunited and it feels so good!" Sorry! I just couldn't resist and I have this darn song stuck in my head!